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The Old Cider Mill

by James Arthur Lodge

If I could be a boy again
For fifteen minutes, or even ten,
I'd make a bee-line for that old mill,
Hidden by tangled vines down by the rill;
Where the apples were piled in heaps all 'round,
Red, streaked and yellow all over the ground;
And the old sleepy horse goes round and round
And turns the wheels while the apples are ground.

Straight for that cider mill I'd start,
With light bare feet and lighter heart,
A smiling face, a big straw hat,
Hum-made breeches and all o' that.
And when I got there I would just take a peep,
To see if old cider mill John was asleep,
And if he was I'd go snooking round
'Till a great big round rye straw I'd found;
I'd straddle a barrel and quick begin
To fill with cider right up to my chin.

As old as I am, I can shut my eyes
And see the yellow jackets, bees and flies
A-swarming 'round the juicy cheese
And bung-holes; drinking as much as they please.
I can see the clear sweet cider flow
From the press above to the tub below,
And a'steaming up into my old nose
Comes the smell that only a cider mill knows.

You may talk about your fine old Crow,
Your champagne, sherry, and so and so,
But of all the drinks of press or still,
Give me the juice of that old cider mill.
A small boy's energy and suction power
For just ten minutes or quarter of an hour,
And the happiest boy you ever saw
You'd find at the end of that rye straw,
And I'll forego forevermore
All liquors known on this earthly shore.

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